Enrichment Package for Field Trips

The Mesa Verde National Park Enrichment Package includes materials you can use before, during, and after a visit to the park. Some of the pre-visit and post-visit activities can also be used by classes without taking a field trip.

(To get the Free Adobe Reader, which is required to read the pdf files, click here.)

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Activities Before Your Visit

Activity 1 --
The Future Is In Your Hands

This activity involves reading background information that provides a general introduction to the history of the National Park System and Mesa Verde National Park. Students are also encouraged to consider how they can help protect the park during their visit.


Activity 2 --
Getting To Know The Park
This activity is an exercise designed to familiarize students with the park through hands on use of the Mesa Verde maps found on the park's website. This activity encourages the use of map reading skills, as well as investigative skills.


Activity 3 --
It's A Matter Of Time
This activity is a more challenging task that involves reading Ancestral Puebloan Chronology at Mesa Verde (pdf, 420 kb). As a pre-visit activity, it prepares students by providing them with a relevant knowledge base they then can build upon during their visit to Mesa Verde. Students will follow the development of Ancestral Puebloan society from about A.D. 550 to A.D. 1300. The activity includes the use of a timeline and comparison chart, both of which can be used onsite while visiting the various sites on the Mesa Top Loop Road. (We recommend that you complete the activity in the classroom, and then use the charts for on-site discussions.)

Activity 4 --
Comparing Lifestyles,

This activity involves measurement, simple scale drawings and use of basic math skills. Students take measurements of their own bedrooms to use as data for their drawings. They will also make a list of personal possessions. These measurements and lists can be used to compare the lifestyles of the students with the lifestyle of the Ancestral Puebloan people, when used in conjunction with activities #6 and #8.

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Activities During Your Visit

Activity 5 --
On Your Way To The Park

This activity focuses on basic math and observational skills in relation to your trip to the park, and reinforces the use of mathematics for gaining information that is relevant to everyday life.


Activity 6 --
How Do You Measure Up?

This activity was developed to be used in conjunction with pre-visit and post-visit activities #4 and #8. During this activity, you will visit the cliff dwelling, Spruce Tree House and the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. Students will use their observation skills and the Spruce Tree House Trail Guide to complete the activity.


Activity 7 --
I Spy
Students often enjoy hunting for specific objects in pictures and displays. In this activity, students are asked to read a simple rhyme that encourages them to explore the museum to find many different objects
Can You Solve It?
A Scavenger Hunt
“Can You Solve It?” is an enhanced version of the I Spy activity designed to engage students in an active exploration of the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. Activity cards describe fictional scenarios that depict the life of Ancestral Pueblo people in A.D. 1200 to A.D 1275. Much like a scavenger hunt, students must locate objects, solve problems, and answer questions by examining exhibits, making observations, and recording what they find.


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Activities After Your Visit

Activity 8 --
Comparing Lifestyles,

This activity is designed to help students compare and contrast their lifestyles with that of the Ancestral Puebloans. This activity also asks students to draw conclusions from their comparisons. You will need the information you gathered in activities #4 and #6.

Additional Activities Fun activities that you can do virtually anywhere!

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Additional Lesson Plans for Field Trips

In 2015, the Shared Historical Landscapes Project brought together Crow Canyon Archaeologial Center, Mesa Verde National Park, local school districts, and several government and not-for-profit community organizations to develop a plan for a K–12 educational collaboration. The following Mesa Verde National Park Field Trip Lessons were a result of that collaboration. The lessons are grounded in interdisciplinary, 21st century skills and Colorado State Standards, and they use best practices in place-based education, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) education, experiential learning, and online learning. For more information, visit www.crowcanyon.org/index.php/shared-historical-landscapes-project.


Please also visit the "Curriculum Materials" page. You'll find some new and improved lesson plans, and the ability to search for lesson plans from other national park units.

Last updated: March 2, 2017

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330


(970) 529-4465

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